Actually, if you were trying to do that, you wouldn't really make these; you'd only just wear lots of black and kiss on both cheeks. But see, I've decided that zoulbia, a crisp lacy fritter that bursts with rosewater cardamom syrup when you bite into it, is going to be the traditional Iranian Hanukkah food from now on. It makes sense: throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean, Jews eat various fried sweets to celebrate the oil-related miracle that Hanukkah commemorates (and yes, latkes weave this same theme through Eastern Europe). These little bits of deliciousness really should be our contribution to the grease-fest.
I really recommend trying zoulbia. They're pretty easy to make -- the batter comes together pretty simply, and it's actually really fun to squeeze out amorphous squiggles of the stuff into hot oil, then watch it bubble and expand as it fries to a golden brown. And the end result is indulgent: sticky and gooey with sweet glaze, the scent is vaguely exotic, and the crunch is really satisfying.
So, I wrote an article for the Shofar, an Iranian Jewish quarterly magazine, declaring this new tradition and offering my mom's recipe. You can check it out on page 67 of this pdf version of the issue, in addition to two other stories I wrote for the magazine: an opinion piece on Barack Obama being elected president (that's right, I wrote about politics. Crazy, no?) on page 51, and an article about the shameful scandal surrounding Agriprocessors, the nation's largest producer of kosher meat on page 58.
UPDATE: Here's the recipe right on the blog, for those too lazy to click the pdf link. What can I say, I'm a giver!